The Professional Fanatic; Issue 3

"The Professional Fanatic," is a new weekly column brought to you by staff writer/analyst, Jared Bonshire. In his third issue in a series of columns to come, Bonshire describes the Un-American Americans in the NBA.

Un-American Americans
By: Jared Bonshire
Publish 6-8-2004

How unpatriotic.

How pathetically selfish.

How in the world can people be so unbelievably frustrating in a time when so many people are giving up their lives for what the American believes in, how can NBA players not play in the Olympics!

Seems to be the sentiment not only among the general media, but the public in large and yes, even the NBA players themselves.

Earlier this year, Karl Malone was quoted as saying, "If guys know what's at stake here and they don't want to play, there's something wrong with them, basically."

An epidemic it seems has befallen the "struggling for fan support other than the home city following" league, which has taken hits for its music during the games, lack of energy or care during the regular season, and most recently the increased awareness and willingness to take high school kids right from the proverbial womb.

Tracy McGrady, Kevin Garnett, Jason Kidd, (among others) and now Mike Bibby? Who even know that Bibby even had a choice?

The elite players in the NBA are turning their hand at the Olympic committee like never before. It is obvious that for the first time since NBA players were allowed to play in the Olympics, that the United States will not be fielding its most talented roster.

The upheaval is tremendous. From sports talk shows to ESPN, to MSNBC, the blacklisting of the players who have decided not to play for American Pride has been relentless.

It seems as if everyone has decided to forget that all these players are expressing their right as Americans.

The freedom of choice.

Although the action itself may not be heroic, or courageous, or even just plain helpful, these players are still Americans who are taking advantage of what it means to be an American.

Let us not forget that there are always two sides to any particular story, and there could be any number of reasons these players are deciding to stay home.

Maybe it's the fact that they play in a profession where little of their time is spent with their families.

Summer is a great time (other than those who have worked their way into the annual endurance match of the NBA playoffs) for the NBA player to stay in one place, catch up with the moments he may have missed with his children or family.

Or perhaps the reason is he does not want to be car bombed. Seems as if there is a greater chance of being bombarded with suicide bombers across the Atlantic than there is in Sacramento.

This talk of compensating players to participate in the Olympic Games is not only ridiculous, it's stupid.

If a players needs to be paid in order to feel the passion of representing his country, then he does not need to be playing in the Olympics.

I would much rather have 25 passionate Corliss Williamson's wearing the star spangled banner proudly across his chest than 5 Tracy McGrady's.

The Olympics is just something different than all other sporting events. It's a way to show pride and passion and competitiveness against the other countries in the world without bloodshed, death, and destruction.

Everyone who plays in the Olympics is changed forever, especially those who are honored on a podium with their countries glory blasting through speakers for all to hear.

That emotion is a beautiful thing.

The last thing I want is that emotion to be curtailed with the knowledge that the ones standing on the podium would rather be somewhere else.

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